Mullaperiyar Issue; Karuna attacks UPA govt

UPA key ally DMK mounted a direct attack on the Centre, asking it to "at least now" take a timely decision to resolve the escalating row between the two states.

Updated: Dec 12, 2011, 20:39 PM IST

Chennai: An uneasy calm prevailed on
the borders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the Mullaperiyar dam
issue, as UPA key ally DMK mounted a direct attack on the
Centre, asking it to "at least now" take a timely decision to
resolve the escalating row between the two states.

With both states seeking to turn the heat on each other
and mount pressure on the Centre, people from different
villages in border areas of Tamil Nadu blocked vehicular
traffic on the Cumbum-Mettu road to Kerala for the third day.
Tension in Kerala`s border town of Kumily however eased
but the area is still under tight security as agitators
gathered on the Tamil Nadu side, protesting Kerala`s demand
for a new dam in place of the 116-year-old structure.

After remaining shut for the past two days, shops in the
town opened but inter-state traffic continued to be blocked on
both sides for the third consecutive day, police said.

In Tamil Nadu, DMK stepped up its pressure with party
workers staging a day long fast, demanding that the Centre
prevail upon Kerala to accept the Supreme Court verdict to
raise the water level in the dam from 136 feet to 142 feet.

Taking potshots at the UPA government at the Centre, of
which his party is a key constituent, DMK chief M Karunanidhi,
said the Centre "known for taking belated decisions" should
act timely on the Mullaperiyar issue at least now.

"The Centre, known for taking belated decisions on all
issues, should at least now take a timely decision as any
delay will lead to disastrous consequences," he told party
workers who were on a day-long fast in Chennai.

He came down heavily on some people in Kerala whipping up a
fear psychosis among its people that the dam might burst. Some
politicians in Kerala with an eye on the coming bypolls to
Kerala assembly are spreading falsehood that the dam was weak.

"Do not play with unity of the people. Do not get
emotional. Preserve the unity and integrity of the nation," he
told people of Kerala,which is unrelenting on its stand that a
new dam be built in place of the 116-year-old reservoir.

DMK is also holding a human chain protest on Dec 14 in
five districts that benefit from waters of the dam, located in
Kerala`s Idukki district, but controlled by Tamil Nadu under a
999 year lease.

The Mullaperiyar dam row has sparked fresh tension between
Tamil Nadu and Kerala over building a new dam in place of the
existing one.Kerala insists a new dam is the only solution,but
Tamil Nadu maintains it is as good and safe as a new one.

The increase in tension had led to attacks on Tamils and
Keralites in some parts on both sides of the state borders.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy urged
agitators not to fall prey to designs of vested interests to
exploit the situation to whip up narrow parochial sentiments.

"It is important for everybody to exercise restraint so
that the atmosphere is not vitiated. Certain vested interests
are making conscious efforts to exploit the situation," he
said at Pathanamthitta.

He said Kerala had maintained "utmost restraint" despite
provocation from "certain quarters".

The Jayalalithaa government had on Sunday convened a special assembly session on Dec 15 to assert its right on the
issue and announced Tamil Nadu would not give up its rights
over Mullaperiyar due to `imaginary threats` on its safety and
security raised by Kerala.

This move comes as a counter to a similar assembly
decision in Kerala, which passed a unanimous resolution on
December 9, demanding construction of a new dam.

Tamil Nadu has also moved the Supreme Court on the issue.
The dam is in Kerala, but controlled by Tamil Nadu on a 999
year lease.

PTI